To share the disappointing news, I didn’t get into my school of choice for a Master’s writing program. To be fair to myself, there were only 15 slots open and several hundred people applied for the program. It was a tough crowd. Kudos to those who did make it in! Their writing must prove to be stellar! I will admit, it rocked me a bit when I heard the news. And humbled me. It is one thing to write for your peers on websites, blogs, and the like and completely another to apply oneself to a formal writing program. The parameters are different. The audience is different. The technique is different. I don’t have formal training as a writer. It is often pulled purely from the heart and knowledge gained from living life. My technique is not flawless. My motives are not always pure. This is where the phrase “A Skeptical Optimist” truly comes into focus. I was humbled by the denial of the writing program. I have many followers and friends who have built me up with accolades and astonishing vocal praises for my writing. Maybe I let it get to my head a bit. I took it upon myself to believe that I was a “sure thing” in getting into the program. Even so far as to already request time off at work next year for the residency programs. Humbling to say the least when having to delete and rescind the time off requests and am asked the reason why.
It was a take-a-few-notches-off-my -belt reminder that pride most assuredly comes before the fall. It is not often I will so blatantly share my Christianity with others (even though that is the call of the ministry…a story for another time!), but I am reminded of Proverbs 16 which talks explicitly about pride and unpure motives. My downfall in this journey of writing is that I let my pride get the best of me and my motives weren’t pure. It was more about preening like a peacock than about the strength and motives of my writing. I foolishly believed that I was better than anyone else who applied for the program. How big-headed if me! And so arrogant!!
Proverbs 16 (NIV)
1 To humans belong the plans of the heart,
but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.
2 All a person’s ways seem pure to them,
but motives are weighed by the LORD.
3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.
4 The LORD works out everything to its proper end—
even the wicked for a day of disaster.
5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart.
Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.
6 Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for;
through the fear of the LORD evil is avoided.
7 When the LORD takes pleasure in anyone’s way,
he causes their enemies to make peace with them.
8 Better a little with righteousness
than much gain with injustice.
9 In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the LORD establishes their steps.
10 The lips of a king speak as an oracle,
and his mouth does not betray justice.
11 Honest scales and balances belong to the LORD;
all the weights in the bag are of his making.
12 Kings detest wrongdoing,
for a throne is established through righteousness.
13 Kings take pleasure in honest lips;
they value the one who speaks what is right.
14 A king’s wrath is a messenger of death,
but the wise will appease it.
15 When a king’s face brightens, it means life;
his favor is like a rain cloud in spring.
16 How much better to get wisdom than gold,
to get insight rather than silver!
17 The highway of the upright avoids evil;
those who guard their ways preserve their lives.
18 Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
19 Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed
than to share plunder with the proud.
20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,[a]
and blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD.
21 The wise in heart are called discerning,
and gracious words promote instruction.[b]
22 Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent,
but folly brings punishment to fools.
23 The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,
and their lips promote instruction.[c]
24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
25 There is a way that appears to be right,
but in the end it leads to death.
26 The appetite of laborers works for them;
their hunger drives them on.
27 A scoundrel plots evil,
and on their lips it is like a scorching fire.
28 A perverse person stirs up conflict,
and a gossip separates close friends.
29 A violent person entices their neighbor
and leads them down a path that is not good.
30 Whoever winks with their eye is plotting perversity;
whoever purses their lips is bent on evil.
31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
it is attained in the way of righteousness.
32 Better a patient person than a warrior,
one with self-control than one who takes a city.
33 The lot is cast into the lap,
but its every decision is from the LORD.
This is not a moment to preach, but a moment to sit in silence and reflect. To tuck my tail between my legs and bow my head in shame at my audacity to believe that I was better than someone else. I’m not. And never will be. I am good, I won’t deny that. But it is one thing to know you are good at something and be confident in your ability and completely another to be prideful and boast of your ability and wear it as a “Superman S badge” pinned to your chest.
I took the badge off. I’m back to being a humble writer with the optimism and confidence in my ability to connect with others. With the hope that my words do not fall on deaf ears.
Keep me humble, my friends….